York Council tackling nettles.

Contractors were out today removing nettle growth from the side of the Foxwood Lane footpath.

Contractors in action on Foxwood Lane

The nettles had been a nuisance during the late summer period although not, this year, as bad as in some previous years.

Mechanical treatment – often by local farmers – is usually an efficient and economical way of controlling weeds and cutting back hedges.

Meanwhile a Freedom of Information request has revealed that this year weed control contractors have only been paid part of the £37,020.89 value of the contract. The response says that £18,498.70 has so far been paid during the current year.

The response does reveal the amounts paid to specialist weed control contractors over the last 9 years.

Weeds blocking public footpath in Windsor Garth reported again this week
  • 2019/20 – A. Morrison’s & Sons £37,020.89.
  • 2018/19 – Munroe’s – £31,189
  • 2017/18 – Munroe’s – £31,189
  • 2016/17 – Munroe’s – £31,189
  • 2015/16 – Munroe’s – £27,192
  • 2014/15 – Dobsons – £68,538
  • 2013/14 – Dobsons – £66,867
  • 2012/13 – Nomix Enviro – £69,792
  • 2011/12 – Nomix Enviro – £79,036

Interestingly the York Council, in the Spring, accepted a tender the value of which was only half that submitted in 2011.

It was later discovered that the list of streets to be treated was incomplete.

There have been chronic problems with weed control during the summer and, as we reported a few days ago, many streets still require attention.

Some streets missed again from weed control programme

With winter settling in, and leaves filling gutters and paths, we’ve had a look back at some roads that were subject to complaints about weed growth earlier in the summer.

Sadly in some cases the weeds are still there. The Council will need to use mechanical means to remove the remaining growth.

The weed and grass growth is mainly in drainage gullies but some paths are still obstructed.

Weed growth and leaves in Queenswood Grove gutters
There has been a long term problem with these weeds which obstruct part of the Windsor Garth footpath

Still some action needed to clean up York streets.

Sorry to see that weed growth on the east of the City hasn’t been cleared some 3 months after first being reported. Mainly thistles growing in gutters and drainage channels. May (or may not) die back as winter gets a grip. But all is not yet fixed with many public service standards in the City still not up to standard.

Malton Road
Jockey Lane

Action needed, Action taken

Mixed outlook on several outstanding public service issues in west York

We’ve reported a broken utility sign at the top of Grange Lane
Exposed cables have been tied to street signs in Milner Street for several weeks now.
Graffiti and litter continue to blight the Grange Lane snickets
We’ve suggested that hard core be used to make footpaths in the Grange Lane Westfield Park usable in wet weather
New record holder for the largest weed award. This 3 metre monster in Dijon Avenue next to a telegraph pole.
Loose rubbish continues to blight the rear of Front Street
Overgrown snicket on Gale Lane becoming a crime concern. We”ve asked the Ward Councillors to act.
Reported yet again litter, detritus and weeds on the Tithe Close snicket. Issue recorded by the Council as “solved” Clearly not!
Weeds flourishing on Hotham Avenue
….and Foxwood Lane
….and School Street

….But weeds cleared from Dijon Avenue garage area by Council. Now looks very tidy.

£18,000 spent by York Council on ineffective weed control contract

It emerged today that the York Council has already handed over £18,498.70 this year to the contractor charged with controlling weed growth in the City.

The figure conflicts with assurances given at a public review meeting held earlier in the week when the impression was given that payments were being withheld because of poor performance.

The contract states that treated areas must be “98%” free of weed growth. Clearly this isn’t the case in most of the City. In additional several major roads and areas were omitted by the Council – in error – from the contract. These areas, including parts of the A59 and A1237, are still not showing any “die back” as a result of the promised “third treatment”

The meeting on Monday was largely indecisive. A further review is promised but it appears that the existing contract isn’t being terminated.

There are no plans to undertake weed control activities in at least a “trial” sector of the City using the Councils own workforce. This would have allowed work quality claims to be tested.

The latest revelations are likely to lead to renewed calls for greater transparency on the activities of the Councils’ partners. One Councillor (Mark Warters) has already asked for copies of weed control activity worksheets for his ward to be published. In addition, many residents believe that the results of contract supervisory checks should be made public. These issues may be subject to a Freedom of Information request.

A list of suggested initiatives was presented by residents to the meeting (above right).  A response is awaited.

Bad news for City centre traders

Grim in Acomb

The latest footfall figures, reproduced by the BID team, reveal that there has been a 4% drop in visitor numbers so far this year. It is even worse on a year on year basis and is below the county average

That is a poor platform on which to approach the, normally busy, run up to Christmas.

In Acomb, the picture is slightly different with some traders reporting steady business trends. This is despite the lamentable performance recently of the Council in keeping open spaces, gutters and the areas around trees and street furniture free of weeds and litter.

Weeds still choke trees and seats on Front Street

The picture in residential areas is also disappointing with weeds disfiguring many streets

Time to spend the cycle budget

More evidence of neglect of our cycle routes. Two of the direction signs on the cycle link between Thanet Road and Sherringham Drive have been removed.

Time to use some of the Councils large cycling budget to get the signs replaced and to get the white lines repainted?

Missing sign at the Thanet Road junction. Delineating while lines have almost disappeared.
Similar problem at the Wains Road link
Anyone getting as far as Sherringham Drive will find the path still covered in weeds with overgrown hedges making progress difficult.

Weed growth damaging York’s appearance

Meeting on Monday to consider possble solutions.

It looks like the improvements to the weed killing programme on hard surfaces have failed to materialise.

A “third” application of weed killer was to have been applied to drainage gullies, footpaths, forecourts and other areas during the last 4 weeks.

While there have been improvements to some traffic islands (the build up of silt on Longfield Lane, Foxwood Lane and Gale Lane has been removed) the vast majority of the A1237 is remains overgrown.

The A59, Water Lane and Jockey Lane – all reported months ago – remain untreated.

There will be some serious questions to be answered at the meeting.